Experts at a consultation on safe migration as an Anti Trafficking Agenda: Addressing Migration in Sustainable Development Goals on Tuesday emphasized on taking effective measures by the authorities concerned to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration from Bangladesh.
Speaking at consultation, organized by WARBE Development Foundation and American Center for International Labour Solidarity at National Press Club, they observed that safe and regular migration could reduce trafficking in persons.
Returnee migrants, migrants’ rights activists and leaders of recruiting agencies who spoke at the consultation called upon the government to allocate adequate budgets for the migration sector to protect rights and widen welfare activities to the migrants’ workers abroad and their family members at home.
They also urged the government to implement the relevant laws properly to ensure safe, orderly and responsible migration from Bangladesh to help achieve the UN set Sustainable Development Goals in this sector.
Lawmaker Roksana Yasmin Suti, who is also member of the Parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development, spoke as chief guest.
She reiterated her government’s commitment in working hard to ensure rights of the migrant workers of the country.
International Labour Organization’s national programme officer Rahnuma Salam Khan who made a keynote presentation said that the domestic workers were mostly victimized at workplaces and their protections must be ensured to achieve the SDGs.
‘All concerns including government and non-government organizations will have to work together to address challenges of achieving SDGs,’ she said, adding that the arranging decent works for huge populations and enhancing skills to groom migrants for overseas jobs have been big challenges.
Migrants’ rights organizer and WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque said that international laws protecting rights of migrant workers should be enforced by raising voice globally.
‘Although migrant workers are sending remittances to keep the country’s economy vibrant but there is no visible investment from the government,’ he said, adding that adequate investment was necessary to ensure social protections of the migrants and their family members to achieve SDGs by 2030.
INAFI Bangladesh Executive Director Atiqun Nabi said that migrant workers and their family members were to pay grate sacrifice for the country so that the state must widen welfare and protect their rights to have access to healthcare, education and other social security.
Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agency’s joint secretary general Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman said that the government should conduct research to find out the causes of deaths of the migrants abroad and reduce the violations against the female migrant workers.
He demanded that employers who committed offences against the female workers should be brought under accountability by implementing the bilateral agreements.
Shameem Ahmed, also owner of Sadia International recruiting agency urged the government to declare the manpower sector as industry.
WARBE Development Foundation secretary general Faruque Ahmed demanded exemplary punishment of human traffickers who were engaged in sending workers abroad through sea routes.
‘If safe migration is in place, the trafficking cannot happen,’ he said, adding that Thailand has brought a big Army general under its rigorous punishment for committing trafficking but there was no punishment in Bangladesh.
Chairman of Bangladesh Ovibhasi Adhikar Forum Nazmul Ahsan among others also spoke at the consultation where WARBE DF director Jasiya Khatoon made another presentation.
Victim migrant Shahnaj of Shahid Nagar in Dhaka said that she has returned from Jordan facing tortures and denial of wages. She had worked for 36 months in Jordan but she was able to get wages for 16 months.
Shajanj migrated to the Arab state paying Tk 60,000 to broker, she told the consultation.
Another migrant Shamsul Haque who returned from Saudi Arabia said that he was forced to send back home as the employing company was bankrupted. He claimed that he was deprived of 50,000 Saudi Riyal.